Ah, Canada jokes. I dearly love them. Go ahead, dish it out, rest of the world. We have a great sense of humour and can totally take it. And as I have said before, it is funnier when you are extremely specific in your humour.
So I was overjoyed when a friend who lives in Texas alerted me that Guelph, my very Canadian city, had been featured on what I believe is the final episode of the animated Fox show, King of the Hill.
Mushmouthed redneck Boomhauer (whose first name, it was finally revealed, is Jeff) participates in a house swap with a Canadian family — Gordon, Maureen and Ollie Hoskins — who move to Arlen, Texas to stay in his home while he goes to Guelph to experience all of southern Ontario’s charms. He grows a beard, enjoys some Coffee Crisp (worst Canadian candy bar ever), goes canoeing and falls in love with a French Canadian girl named Suzette.
The Canadians, it turns out, are even more rigid than Hank Hill, who cannot stand their pompous airs and stuffy attitude. Chesterfield. I don’t know anybody who says chesterfield. My Grams said Chesterfield.
There are a few people who seem upset that the Canadians were portrayed in such an unlikeable manner. They were insufferable, rude, condescending and passive agressive. Gordon (voiced by Canadian comic Colin Mochrie) would rather drink Slewback beer (one assumes this is a parody of Guelph’s more than 150-year-old Sleeman Brewery), watch Canadian Football (more exciting, eh?) and – horror of horrors! – read the newspaper than hang out with his temporary neighbours. Or neighbors, if you want to get pedantic. But I’m writing this in Canada, so I’ll keep the u’s where they belong. They also complain about the petro chemicals in the synthetic fabrics and call the cops on the party Hank is throwing. Now there’s where they get it wrong. Hosers NEVER break up a party where there’s beer, even if said beer is like having sex in a canoe — fucking close to water.
Anyway, the Canadians were pretty irredeemable and I recognized some familiar sentiments in them. I think many Canadians presume that their cousins to the south are stupid, self-involved jerks who are all wasteful, borderline racists or worse. Of course this isn’t true of every American, just as it isn’t false that there’s sometimes a sense of arrogance, disdain and snobbishness from our side of the border.
But let’s calm ourselves. Because I think we can all agree that the metric system is better. Quoth Bobby:
But Dad! Canada’s metric system makes so much more sense! A yard, a foot, an ounce. That’s so random! Why not measure things in squirts and dog’s tails?
Now, Guelph is not exactly a huge city. It’s not part of the Tri-City sprawl of Cambridge, Kitchener and Waterloo, it’s close enough to Toronto to commute should you so desire, and it’s far enough away to not be considered a bedroom community. It is fiercely independent, environmental to a fault and if we had an anthem, it would be Crunchy Granola Suite.
Seriously. Do you want some granola? Because I think I have some in my pocket. For no other reason than that I live in Guelph, which has a bit of a hippie reputation and you know. *shrug* Hippies love us some granola.
Anyway. I don’t know if research was done, but the Slewbeck beer makes me think at least a little thought went into picking a place. It was probably the perfect choice for a Canadian city. I’ve been living here for about three years. I love Guelph. I do. If I didn’t, I would’ve moved to Toronto immediately after I lost my job. But…
Boobtube regulars will remember that King of the Hill and Beavis and Butthead creator Mike Judge has a new animated series in the works called The Goode Family. It premieres next Wednesday, May 27 on ABC, or CityTV in Canada — and don’t forget to watch The Unusuals that night, too!
The Goode Family is an obsessively “green” family who live a politically correct lifestyle. The reason why their last name is Goode is because they are always trying to do good. For example, they reuse their shopping bags, drive hybrid cars, recycle, etc. They are also vegans.
Gerald Goode (Mike Judge) is an administrator at a community college. He comes from a “long line of over-educated academic liberals.” Helen Goode (Nancy Walls) is Gerald’s wife, a local activist.
The Goodes have an adopted son, Ubuntu (David Herman), who is from Africa. They also have a biological daughter named Bliss (Linda Cardellini); she often disagrees with her parents, and sometimes pokes some holes in their world views. The family dog, Che, is also vegan: he craves meat and often tries to eat neighborhood animals and pets.
OK. They could not have made this sound more like the Royal City than if they’d based it on real Guelphites. I live over a health food store in the city’s downtown. These purveyors of fine granola products sell chewy bagels made locally, gluten-free everything, peanut butter I must grind myself, organic cheese, vegetables, teas and coffees.
I sometimes like to do annoyingly hippie shit like make my own soup and freeze it, so I occasionally shop there because it’s convenient and organic. Go ahead. Laugh at me. I don’t do it because I’m under the illusion it’s going to help save the planet, I do it because it tastes better. And I’m lazy. COME ON. It’s RIGHT THERE!
I don’t think this makes me good, but you know, I try. Just not out of some desire to be politically and environmentally correct. More because I’m cheap.
I mean, didn’t everybody have a big bag of bags hanging in their broom closet? To carry muddy shoes in? To pick up dog poop? To haul lunch to school without leaking into your bookbag? To go back to the grocery store and get more lentils/granola? No? Damn.
I think this show is poking fun at everyone: Those who try too hard and those who try not at all.
It’s ridiculous, if you think about it. For example, Guelph prides itself on being an early adopter of technology that would allow it to compost its own “wet” recyclable materials. But the compost plant produced smells and the building had problems and it was shut down.
Now, we send our bags filled with compostable waste across the border and pay a company in New York State to burn it. I guess it’s like one student interviewed in a clip on ABC’s website says: It’s hard to be good because it’s so easy to be bad.